The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation explored the reefs of New Caledonia on the Global Reef Expedition, conducting extensive coral reef surveys and creating detailed maps of the seafloor. From October through November of 2013, KSLOF scientists worked in close collaboration with researchers from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développment (IRD), as well as experts from around the world, to document and map coral reef habitats and fish communities of the Entrecasteaux Atolls, Cook Reef, Ile des Pins, and Prony Bay.
This research mission was one of the most rigorous survey efforts undertaken by the Foundation. We felt it was important to survey the reefs of New Caledonia to not only aid in the conservation of these reefs but also to add to the Foundation’s global database on the status of coral reefs around the world. Spending more than a month at sea, scientists conducted 554 benthic habitat transects and 504 fish surveys and mapped over 2,600 square kilometers of seafloor habitats at 10 locations throughout New Caledonia. We used standardized survey methods and photographic assessments to measure live coral cover, algal communities, and coral diversity. We found some of the highest coral cover observed on the Global Reef Expedition—in an unexpected location.
Home to the 2nd largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the world, the reefs of New Caledonia are some of the most beautiful and well-preserved we explored on the Global Reef Expedition. Our research provides new information on the status and trends of coral reefs in New Caledonia, including threats to coral reefs and patterns of recovery from past disturbances. It also includes baseline information on reefs inside Le Parc Naturel de la Mer de Corail, a new MPA established in April of 2014. The data collected on this research mission will be highly beneficial to the continued monitoring and management efforts for this park and may shed light on areas that need attention and more robust management.
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has shared our maps and findings from the Global Reef Expedition mission to New Caledonia with government officials and marine managers to help preserve these beautiful reefs. We have also placed our maps and reports online, and encourage the public, scientists, and policymakers to consult these resources to identify areas that might require additional protection. New Caledonia already has some of the most advanced marine conservation efforts in the South Pacific. Still, we hope this research can inform ongoing management efforts and help ensure coral reefs throughout New Caledonia continue to thrive.
Global Reef Expedition: New Caledonia Final Report
The Global Reef Expedition: New Caledonia Final Report presents a summary of the Foundation’s findings from the Global Reef Expedition mission to New Caledonia along with conservation recommendations that could help preserve these reefs for future generations. It is available to download in both French and English.